News and events archive 2004 - 2013


Baroness Byford of Rothley, Leicestershire - Doctor of Laws

Former Conservative Whip in the House of Lords, Conservative spokesperson on the environment and rural affairs and member of the University of Leicester Court

Baroness Byford, formerly a Member of Court at the University of Leicester, has many connections with Leicester and Leicestershire. She was born in Rothley, spent six years at Portland House School and learned to play hockey on Victoria Park. Years later she played for Rangers mixed hockey club, whose base was on Western Park. When she married, she and her husband moved to Quorn before returning to Rothley 15 years later.

Her husband’s family knitwear company was based in Abbey Park Road and employed hundreds of Leicester people over the years. Her father founded his stockbroking business, Cyril Osborne & Co, in Leicester.

Hazel Byford attended the Northamptonshire Agricultural College at Moulton, and became a poultry farmer producing parent stock for Thornbers. From 1961 to 1993 she joined the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and was County Organiser for Leicestershire from 1972-76.

Baroness Byford was created Dame of the British Empire in 1994.

In the House of Lords she was Conservative Whip for 1997-98 and Conservative spokesman on agriculture, the environment and rural affairs from 1998-2007.

Currently Baroness Byford holds the position of President in LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), WFU (Women’s Food and Farming Union), RABDF (Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers), Royal Smithfield Club, Leicestershire Clubs for Young People and St Leonard’s School, St Andrews. She is Honorary Canon at Leicester Cathedral.

Press Comment: “I am deeply touched to be receiving an honorary degree from the University of Leicester, my home town.

“I was pleased to be invited to become a member of the Court of the University of Leicester and I have taken an interest in the growth and success of the University. Encouraging young people to reach their full potential is as important as ever, and through my Presidency of the Leicestershire Clubs for Young People I see for myself the practical opportunities the clubs give for individual development.

“My brother Peter Osborne has recently been installed as Chairman of Leicestershire County Council. Kirby and West, the company of my brother-in-law Brian Smith continues to serve the people of Leicester and Leicestershire. All in all we are a deeply rooted Leicestershire family.”

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